Taxi rank ambush raises panic

Three people were killed and another seriously wounded in a shooting outside a shop in Tembisa on the East Rand Wednesday afternoon.
Three people were killed and another seriously wounded in a shooting outside a shop in Tembisa on the East Rand Wednesday afternoon.

A busy business district in Ivory Park township came to a halt yesterday after a shooting incident left three people dead and two injured.

The attack - which took place in the afternoon at a parking lot of Swazi Inn, just opposite the Ivory Park taxi rank - targeted four men in a Toyota Quantum parked next to a navy-blue Golf 7R.

It is believed the German hatchback belongs to one of the victims, a taxi owner.

Eyewitnesses believe that the incident is linked to the taxi industry as the assailants only sprayed the bullets at the taximen.

Gauteng police spokesman Kay Makhubele said: "There was a shooting around 12.30pm and, during the incident, four people were shot. Only one of them survived [the attack] and was rushed to hospital.

"One woman [a bystander] was hurt and was treated by the paramedics at the scene.

"We are investigating cases of attempted murder and murder. At the moment we don't know what is the motive for the attack. No suspect has been arrested."

Makhubele could not confirm whether all the victims were shot while they were in the minibus.

"It appears so, but we will be investigating the circumstances of everything that happened at the crime scene," he said.

Makhubele declined to give details on the number of the suspects nor the mode of transport they used to flee.

"We'll follow all the information we are getting from here," he said.

An eyewitness, who is an informal trader in the area, said the attack was carried out by a group of four men wielding what appeared to be automatic rifles.

"All the victims were sitting in a taxi," she said.

"When we heard the gunshots, chaos ensued as people started running in different directions; some of us lay flat on the ground.

"I was worried about my life and initially thought that the shooters were carrying out a [business] robbery.

"I realised once they had fled that their target were the people in the taxi," she said.

A man who claimed to know the driver of the Golf 7R said he was heartbroken to hear that his neighbour had been shot.

"He was a good man. When my car was stolen recently, he is the one who drove me to the police station to open a case. He was always available to assist members of this community," he said.

A group of taximen who had arrived after the shooting were seen chanting Zulu war songs, spreading concern that there might be revenge killings, while police forensic experts continued to comb the crime scene for clues to the attack.

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